Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on Welsh Grand National day at Chepstow and he's taking two against the field in the feature and tipping one on the under card.
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Raz De Maree bids to become the first horse to win two Coral Welsh Grand Nationals in the same year on Thursday and he’s only 2lb higher than when winning last season’s race in January.
However, he came into that win in much better form and is actually 5lb ‘wrong’ this time around, so becoming the subject of a quirky quiz question looks even more unlikely than odds of 20/1 suggest.
The key to the Chepstow marathon could still lie within last season’s renewal, though, as the third home, FINAL NUDGE, looks worthy of backing at 16/1 (General) this time around.
He travelled well throughout last season’s race, clearly relishing the undulating track, his effort only petering out between the second last and the finish.
David Dennis’ horse was having his second run of the season back then following a hard-fought second behind Present Man in the Badger Ales, but this time he goes into Chepstow fresh and that’s the best time to catch him.
He always goes well on his seasonal reappearance and after a break, as runs at Market Rasen, Fakenham and Wincanton suggest throughout his career, so it’s no surprise to see connections start his season in this.
Rated half a stone lower than when he last ran in this race, he’s handicapped to have a big say and it’s interesting Sam Twiston-Davies takes the ride with his father having a runner in the contest.
It’s wide open as you would expect and Elegant Escape and Ramses De Teilee rate big dangers being 4lb and 3lb well-in respectively.
They’ve been well found in the market and the bookies are (rightly) taking few chances with Gordon Elliott’s first Welsh Grand National runner, Folsom Blue, either.
I was tempted by Vieux Lion Rouge following his Becher run, but a part of me feels he was slightly flattered by that second, while Looksnowtlikebrian is a huge player IF he jumps cleanly.
But, looking at the market, the other horse I want to be with is DAWSON CITY at 20/1 (General) despite him being nibbled at all afternoon.
This horse looks overpriced as he loves a dour test in soft ground, as he’s proven a few times including at Exeter in February where he won the Devon National off a mark of 127.
A good second at Newbury off 6lb higher after that, he hasn’t had his ideal conditions since but made eye-catching late progress at Kelso last time on ground that would be quicker than ideal.
That’s ample evidence that he’s in good enough nick for a bet at 20s, especially as now underfoot conditions could well inspire something like his best form.
He was unlucky the last time he came to Chepstow, as he was hampered by a loose horse when unseating, but at least he’s had experience at the track giving further hope he’ll cope with the demands of this test.
He will need to jump better, but he was excellent in that regard at Exeter, so the hope is the tempo of this distance will help in that department, and he looks fairly handicapped off 132 carrying a low weight.
Finally, the bet of the day is DOITFORTHEVILLAGE in the Download the Coral App Handicap Chase (1.05 Chepstow) at 8/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power).
Paul Henderson’s horse is well-handicapped after dropping 4lb in two runs this season, a slip two out at Cheltenham contributing to his defeat there, while he shaped well before fading into third at Newbury on his latest start.
Off 133 he’s dangerous as he’s won off a 2lb higher mark at Cheltenham, while he usually always needs a run or two with that Prestbury Park win coming on his third start of the campaign.
This is his third start this season, so he should be primed and ready, and you can tell connections mean business by the booking of Paddy Brennan, a jockey that has won four times from 10 goes on this horse.
Another interesting angle is the trip, as he’s unraced over further than two miles in 12 starts, but he has tackled trips of around two-and-a-half miles on several occasions and he’s won over the distance twice.
With the testing ground right up his street as well, everything is in place for a big run and odds of 8/1 look extremely fair all things considered, even in a competitive race.
This is the last Value Bet of 2018 and there will be no column for New Year's Day. It will return in January after a break.
Ben Linfoot's Value Bet aim: The Value Bet is designed to generate long-term profit by searching for overpriced horses in the feature weekend races and at the big Festivals in the UK. Running total: +339.49pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 GMT on 26/12/18.